International Statement of Solidarity to Stop Rockwool in Jefferson County, West Virginia

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, stand with the grassroots movement in Jefferson County, West Virginia and neighboring areas that is fighting to stop Rockwool, a Danish multinational corporation, from building a fossil fuel-powered, heavy industrial mineral wool factory in their community.

We understand that this Rockwool factory is being built less than half a mile from an elementary school where it would disproportionately impact low-income people and people of color. The factory would expose schoolchildren to dangerous levels of toxic air pollution, risk contaminating local water supplies, jeopardize agricultural and tourism economies, burn large amounts of fossil fuels, necessitate new fracked gas infrastructure, and promote more fossil fuel-driven heavy industry development.

Further, this Rockwool project was advanced through a development process that lacked transparency and inclusive public engagement. It is clear that the majority of the people of Jefferson County and nearby who would be impacted by the factory are firmly opposed to it, including most elected officials. We believe this democratic community will must be respected.

We know that Rockwool promotes its product as a climate solution and that improving building insulation to reduce energy use is a crucial part of addressing climate change. However, our commitment to environmental justice calls us to insist that climate solutions never come at the expense of local public health or democracy. And this particular Rockwool factory would — through its heavy use of fracked gas and coal and its role as the anchor for both a new gas pipeline and a much larger fossil fuel-powered heavy industrial park — drive a major expansion of local greenhouse gas emissions.

The fight to stop Rockwool in Jefferson County is a climate justice fight. We join the determined community opposition to the development of this Rockwool factory at its current location or any other that would cause similar risks to public health, water quality, and sustainable development while increasing local carbon pollution and toxic emissions. If Rockwool truly wants to be part of a just climate solution, it must build no new fossil fuel-powered factories, rapidly phase out existing fossil fuel use, operate zero-emissions facilities, and respect both the democratic will of local communities and principles of social justice when assessing potential factory sites. We pledge our support to this fight and join the call for a global boycott of Rockwool until the company abandons their plans to build the Jefferson County facility and adopts commitments to prevent similar harm in the future. Until they do so, Rockwool should not be considered a green company or a climate leader.

TAKE ACTION! Support the grassroots movement to stop the toxic Rockwool factory in Jefferson County, West Virginia, by adding your name here:

Signers: Organizations listed for identification purposes only, unless organization listed separately. *Signer lives in or has family ties in Jefferson County, West Virginia.

  • Mary Anne Hitt*, Senior Director, Beyond Coal Campaign, Sierra Club; member, Eastern Panhandle Green Coalition

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store